Conclusion - The Empty Middle 2015 - CycleBlaze

October 12, 2015


The Empty Middle
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I traveled 3 days before the bike tour and 4 days after the tour. So I was away from home for 26 days to do a 19-day bike tour.

The bike tour was 975 miles (1560 km) from Canyon, Texas to Rapid City, South Dakota. September 23 to October 11, 2015.

Average daily distance of 51.3 miles (82 km) including rest days.

During the bike tour I traveled 16 of 19 days. Every travel day had a tailwind except for one calm day and one day with a 5 mph (8 km/h) headwind. 2 of the 3 rest days had unfavorable winds.

The gentle terrain and prevailing tailwind allowed me to do longer daily distances than usual. But I found my limits. 65 mile days were easy. 85 mile days were not easy.

The warmest day was 88F (31C) near Goodland, Kansas on September 28. The coldest day had a high of 48F (9C) near Bridgeport, Nebraska on October 3.

I had 8 consecutive days of overcast sky in Nebraska and northern Kansas. That's rare in the Great Plains.

No flat tires or other major bike problems. At the beginning of the tour I had trouble adjusting the shifting because the rear wheel wasn't fully seated in the dropouts.

I expected to encounter touring cyclists somewhere in Nebraska or South Dakota, but I never did. Maybe because it was so late in the season. In Nebraska and South Dakota my specific route and the overall region are well suited for bike touring.

Would I do it again? Yes, but I would prefer to somehow start in Goodland, Kansas instead of Canyon, Texas. The scenery was more varied and interesting north of I-70. The southern Plains lives up to its reputation as a boring landscape.

Five states:

149 miles in Texas
41 miles in Oklahoma
252 miles in Kansas (#46)
352 miles in Nebraska (#47)
182 miles in South Dakota


Flies in nearly every restaurant and motel room.
Huge number of trucks servicing feedlots.
The Great Plains was cloudier than I thought it would be

Re-lived 2 excellent hikes:

Lighthouse trail in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas (hiked in 1990)
Harney Peak trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota (hiked in 1993)
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